Why the stories we tell are important for health
“Our lives are ceaselessly intertwined with narrative, with the stories we tell and hear told, those we dream or imagine or would like to tell, all of which are reworked in the story of our own lives that we narrate to ourselves” (White & Epston, 1990).
Throughout time, people have told stories. Perhaps from the beginning of language—the original “once upon a time”—storytelling has been a way of passing down knowledge and information. Stories tell us who we are, how the world works, and what values we should live by. They tell us what is possible, what is not, and what, if anything, may lay beyond the ordinary world of our senses.
Telling and listening to stories is wired into our psyches and nervous systems. Although stories have, at times, been used to exclude and harm, when used in a therapeutic context they have the power to heal and transform. A good story can foster connection and insight, convey healing or empowering metaphors, and activate a client’s resilience, imagination, and creativity. When a story strikes the right chord, it can shift a client’s perspective and open new ways of thinking and seeing.
It’s no wonder that the ancient art of storytelling has been incorporated into everything from violence prevention and trauma reduction programs to medical care and psychotherapy (Zerla, 2017; Hammel, 2018). Dan Yashinsky, a professional storyteller, has used his craft in medical settings and found that “for people with dementia, storytelling sparks rich and imaginative responses, even from those who have forgotten the names of their loved ones. For psychiatry patients, being treated for severe depression, wonder tales full of breathtaking suspense can help them regain their desire to discover what happens next—in the story, and in their own lives. In the palliative unit, we listen to life stories, share tales of wisdom from around the world, and we laugh, too, despite the solemn setting” (Yashinsky, 2017).
When social workers think about storytelling in the context of counseling, many think about the stories clients bring—conscious and unconscious—about their history, relationships, and struggles. Or they may think about how, during the course of therapeutic exploration and processing, new narratives that better support a client’s hopes and psychological growth are created.
But in some cases, counseling professionals are the ones doing the storytelling. Whether sharing tales of the Trojan War with combat veterans (Shay, 2003), reading children’s stories intended to foster psychological growth in terminally ill patients (Grey, 1998), or using fairy tales to enhance a sense of meaning and purpose (Bettelheim, 2010), or telling “healing stories” aimed at altering self-limiting beliefs and reactive patterns (Burns, 2001), social workers can use this timeworn craft to strengthen the therapeutic bond and catalyze change.
The potential benefits of incorporating storytelling into the therapeutic encounter are numerous and include the following:
• Stories often contain profound wisdom as well as metaphorical and archetypal truths that can be conveyed in familiar images and simple language.
• Stories help us see and assimilate things about our life and circumstances from a comfortable distance, at a safe pace, in a context of safety and support.
• A story can create warmth and connection between the one telling the story and the one listening, enhancing the therapeutic alliance.
• For those feeling stuck or with little energy as they struggle with depression, illness, or overwhelming stress, hearing a story can be a pleasant respite during which they can simply relax and listen.
• Stories can engage our sense of humor, uncover strengths and novel solutions, and normalize experiences in ways that reduce feelings of shame or isolation. They can enhance our perspective, loosen the weight of troubling thoughts and emotions, evoke positive memories, and inspire hope.
• Stories can be multidimensional and multisensory, honing in on not just what a character did but also what they thought and felt, what was happening inside their bodies, and what they intended by their behavior vs. how those behaviors were interpreted by others.
• Many stories contain a therapeutically useful archetype that Joseph Campbell (1988) called the “hero’s journey” in which a person is compelled or pushed, often by some kind of crisis, onto a difficult journey during which trials and doubts are faced, and perspective and wisdom acquired.
• Reflecting on the ways Milton Erickson, MD, used stories in psychotherapy, Rosen (1991) points out that counseling professionals can choose stories that contain specific “therapeutic suggestions” that engage a client’s unconscious mind to create new expectations and visions of what is possible.
Incorporating Into Practice
For social workers interested in adding this dimension to their practice, stories can be drawn from virtually anywhere. Legends, myths, sacred texts, and world literary
Rose was extremely independent. For months, she struggled with the progression of respiratory illnesses, refusing anyone to help her. When she became unsteady on her feet, she finally allowed her daughter to move in and help with the care.
To her surprise, Rose found that giving up household chores and responsibilities associated with her illness freed up more time and energy for her family and friends. She began to appreciate little things that previously went unnoticed, like the sound of birds emitted in the early morning and the way the love she felt for her newborn grandson gave her a tingling feeling in her stomach.
On one visit, she reflected on the paradox of how her body had become weak and unreliable, but her spirit, her inner self, was growing stronger and more sensitive to what was important.
She searched in vain for words to describe this paradox. On her wall was a picture of the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. I thought of an anecdote from the bus boycott in Montgomery, AL in the 1950s, in which African-American citizens protested the racial segregation of public transportation. refused to take the city bus. I was wondering if a story would help Rose.
I told her about an older woman tired from months of walking instead of taking the bus. Fatigue crept into his hunched body and idling. At a community meeting after a long day, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to her. Recognizing her commitment to the cause, he told her that there would be no disapproval if she returned to taking the buses. When she told him she would keep walking, he asked if she was tired. She replied, “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.”
Rose smiled, repeating the phrase as if she had a holy power. We talked about how tired the woman was and how hard it must have been. But under exhaustion, she lurked a core of strength and peace. The story highlighted some of the truths emerging from Rose’s experience: her life had innate value regardless of her ability to maintain her roles and physical function, and inner strength was more substantial than physical strength.
In the weeks that followed, as Rose was confined to bed and struggling to cope with the loss of privacy and independence, she would frequently repeat the phrase during my visits: “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.” She became an access point to connect with her deeper self and reinforce the fact that even though her body was getting weaker, her inner self was getting wiser, stronger.
In a sense, counseling and psychotherapy can be seen as a sophisticated type of storytelling in which clients’ stories are evoked, shared, heard, explored, and transformed. While social workers approach clients and patients using a variety of explanation and intervention models, we all carry stories and some of them can be helpful depending on the client.
While there is much to be said for how to choose, craft, time, and deliver a story in the context of consulting, for those interested in experiencing storytelling, Lankton, and Lankton (1989) suggest using stories and anecdotes with therapeutic metaphors that derive from of the social worker’s experience, knowledge, and interests: “Stories that derive from the therapist’s authentic experiences and understandings are believable and, when relevant to the client’s desired learning, are also fascinating, interesting, and engaging.”
Recognizing the need to protect confidentiality and professional boundaries, they suggest considering a client’s goals and clinical presentation and asking, “How is this going in my experience?” The people and images that come to mind in response to this question become the raw material from which a therapeutic metaphor can be constructed.
– Scott Janssen, MSW, LCSW, is a hospice social worker in Durham, North Carolina, and a member of the Trauma Informed Care Task Force of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Some of the material in this article was adapted from his book Standing at Lemhi Pass: Archetypal Stories for the End of Life and Other Challenging Times.
5 Supplements To Add To Your Daily Regime
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With so many responsibilities and distractions, it’s easy to neglect our health and wellbeing. However, incorporating supplements into our daily routine can be a game changer. Whether you’re looking to boost your immune system or improve your energy levels, the right supplements can provide you with the necessary nutrients to help you achieve your health goals. In this article, we’ll be exploring five must-have supplements that should be a part of your daily routine. From essential vitamins to superfoods, these supplements are proven to have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. So, if you’re ready to take your health to the next level, keep reading to find out which supplements you should be incorporating into your daily routine.
Benefits of Incorporating Supplements into Your Daily Routine
Supplements are a great way to ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Whether you’re looking to improve your immune system or increase your energy levels, supplements can provide you with the necessary nutrients to achieve your health goals. Here are some of the benefits of incorporating supplements into your daily routine:
1. Improved Immune System
A healthy immune system is essential for fighting off diseases and infections. Several supplements can help improve your immune system, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc. These supplements have been shown to enhance the immune system’s response, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria.
2. Increased Energy Levels
If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, adding supplements to your daily routine might be the solution. Supplements like Magnesium, Vitamin B12, and Iron can help increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue. These supplements work by providing your body with the necessary nutrients to produce energy, helping you feel more awake and alert.
3. Improved Digestion
If you’re struggling with digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, incorporating probiotics into your daily routine can help. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help maintain a healthy digestive system. These supplements can help reduce the symptoms of digestive issues and improve your overall gut health.
4. Better Mental Health
Several supplements can help improve your mental health, such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin D. These supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve brain function, and enhance mood.
5. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can lead to several health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Several supplements like Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Chlorella have been shown to reduce inflammation levels in the body, helping prevent chronic diseases.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps absorb calcium and phosphorus in the body, promoting healthy bone growth and development. It also plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation levels in the body. However, many people don’t get enough Vitamin D from their diet or sun exposure, making supplementation necessary.
1. Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplementation can have several benefits, such as:
- Improved bone health and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
- Enhanced immune system function and reduced risk of infections
- Improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression
2. How to Supplement with Vitamin D
To supplement with Vitamin D, you can take supplements or increase your sun exposure. However, getting enough Vitamin D from sun exposure can be challenging, especially during the winter months. It’s recommended to take Vitamin D supplements, with the recommended daily intake being 600-800 IU per day.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential fatty acids that play a crucial role in brain function, heart health, and reducing inflammation levels in the body. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet or supplementation.
1. Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Supplementing with Omega-3 Fatty Acids can have several benefits, such as:
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline
- Reduced inflammation levels in the body and prevention of chronic diseases
- Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety
2. How to Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, you can take supplements or increase your intake of fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. The recommended daily intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids is 250-500mg per day.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help maintain a healthy digestive system. These supplements can help reduce the symptoms of digestive issues like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, and improve your overall gut health.
1. Benefits of Probiotics
Supplementing with Probiotics can have several benefits, such as:
- Improved digestive health and reduced symptoms of digestive issues
- Enhanced immune system function
- Reduced risk of infections like UTIs and yeast infections
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
2. How to Supplement with Probiotics
To supplement with Probiotics, you can take supplements or eat foods that are rich in Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. The recommended daily intake of Probiotics varies, but most supplements contain 1-10 billion CFUs per serving.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in several bodily functions, such as muscle and nerve function, energy production, and bone development. However, many people don’t get enough Magnesium from their diet, making supplementation necessary.
1. Benefits of Magnesium
Supplementing with Magnesium can have several benefits, such as:
- Improved muscle and nerve function
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes
2. How to Supplement with Magnesium
To supplement with Magnesium, you can take supplements or increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. The recommended daily intake of Magnesium is 400-420mg per day for men and 310-320mg per day for women.
Chlorella is a type of green algae that is packed with nutrients like protein, Vitamin B12, and Iron. It’s also a potent antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation levels in the body and prevent chronic diseases.
1. Benefits of Chlorella
Supplementing with Chlorella can have several benefits, such as:
- Improved immune system function
- Reduced inflammation levels in the body
- Improved digestion and gut health
- Reduced symptoms of PMS
2. How to Supplement with Chlorella
You can take Chlorella supplements or add Chlorella powder to your smoothies or juices. The recommended daily intake of Chlorella varies, but most supplements contain 1-3g per serving.
How to Choose the Right Supplements for You
When it comes to choosing the right supplements for you, it’s essential to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine which supplements are necessary and safe for you to take. It’s also important to choose high-quality supplements from reputable brands to ensure that you’re getting the best possible product.
Incorporating supplements into your daily routine can be a game changer when it comes to your health and well-being. From improving your immune system to reducing inflammation levels in the body, the right supplements can provide you with the necessary nutrients to achieve your health goals. Whether you’re looking to boost your energy levels or improve your mental health, there’s a supplement out there that can help. So, talk to your healthcare provider and start incorporating these five must-have supplements into your daily routine today.
Understanding Your Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Whether you are an adolescent or an adult, understanding your sexual orientation and gender identity can help you know yourself. It also enables you to find support and community.
Sexual orientation is the enduring physical, romantic, and emotional attraction to members of the same or different genders. It is not determined by how a person was raised or by any other factor causing the interest.
Identifying Your Sexuality
If you are unsure about your sexuality, a range of resources such as online therapy sites like Privatetherapy.com are available to help you get in touch with someone who can support you. These can include your doctor (GP) or a health professional that has experience working with gender and sexuality issues.
While most people are aware of their sexual orientation at an early age, many may still have trouble coming to terms with it later in life. This is a normal part of the process, and it’s completely normal to be confused about your sexuality at this stage.
Understanding your sexuality and what makes you feel most comfortable can help you explore relationships more safely. It can also help you decide when and how to disclose your sexuality. It can be challenging to come out, so it’s essential to find a safe place and choose carefully who you tell about your sexuality.
There are many different ways to define your sexuality, which can sometimes be confusing. Some people use the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight, while others prefer other labels. For example, some African Americans use “Same-Gender Loving” or other words to describe their sexuality.
It is also possible to identify as asexual or ‘aromantic.’ This means that you don’t necessarily feel sexual attraction toward other people, but you may have feelings of romantic interest. To learn about asexuality, visit the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
As with all sexuality and mental health issues, it’s a personal journey. It’s okay not to know what you want and to explore different things until you feel you have a good grasp on what feels suitable for you.
Identifying Your Sexual Orientation
Identifying your sexual orientation and gender identity can be an essential step on your journey to self-acceptance. Understanding your sexuality can help you build healthy relationships with others and be happier and healthier in life.
Disclosing your sexual orientation is a personal and emotional process for every person. Many people are unsure when they should reveal their sexual orientation to others, which can be an anxiety-provoking experience. However, coming out is a critical and necessary part of forming an authentic, honest relationship with yourself and the world around you.
Some people are aware of their sexual orientation from an early age, while others may discover their direction later in life. No matter what your sexual orientation is, it’s normal to question your identity and to seek out social support when you are exploring this topic.
When identifying your sexuality, it is essential to consider your cultural upbringing and the beliefs that may influence your experiences. For example, if you have been raised in a homophobic, racist, or sexist environment, your sexuality might be challenging to understand and accept. This is especially true if you have experienced discrimination or trauma based on your sexual orientation.
Many factors, including upbringing, relationships with others, and experiences with sex, can influence your sexuality. You can also develop a sense of your sexuality through a process of internalization, which is the act of allowing your inner feelings to be the guide for how you treat others and interact with the world.
During this process, it is possible to experience negative emotions such as shame and guilt. These feelings can have a detrimental impact on your mental and physical health. Learning to cultivate self-compassion, which involves relating to yourself with kindness and respect, can be one of the best ways to deal with these feelings.
Identifying Your Gender Identity
Gender identity is a term that refers to an individual’s sense of their gender, regardless of the sex assigned by a doctor at birth. While genetic factors typically determine sex, gender can be much more complicated. It includes how people think, act, and dress and how others perceive them.
Many different societal expectations about gender exist, and they vary between cultures. Some, like the Western culture, define it solely as male or female. However, there are other ways to describe a person’s gender, including but not limited to masculine, feminine, and nonbinary.
Identifying your gender can be confusing and overwhelming, but knowing that you are not alone is essential. You can find support from various resources, from your local community to online forums and social media.
Some popular gender identities include butch, androgynous, cisgender (nonbinary), femme, transgender, and intersex. Each has its definitions and can be unique, but all of them are a part of the larger LGBTQIA+ community.
When identifying your gender, you should use the word or phrase that makes you feel most comfortable. You should also be aware that your gender identity is constantly evolving and changing, and it is a personal matter for each person to decide their terms.
If you’re feeling anxious, fearful or worried about your gender identity, reach out for help from a friend or mentor. Or, you can talk to a counselor. The counselor can help you explore your feelings and help you develop strategies to cope with them.
Gender identity can be complex, especially if you’re trying to find a place to fit in and feel accepted. It’s essential to take some time and find the right community to connect with.
It’s also important to recognize that there are different ways to express your gender, which can help establish connections with others. This can include a name change, dressing differently, or choosing different behaviors and mannerisms associated with your gender.
Monyet Panco the History, Origins, and Benefits of This Popular Martial Art
At its core, martial arts is about more than just fighting; it’s about discipline, focus, and self-improvement. One of the lesser-known martial arts, but one that is gaining popularity in Indonesia and beyond, is.
What is Monyet Panco?
Monyet Panco is a martial art that originated in Indonesia. It is a unique blend of traditional Indonesian martial arts, such as Pencak Silat and Kung Fu, as well as more modern styles like Muay Thai and boxing. One of the defining features of Monyet Panco is its use of monkey-like movements and stances, which are designed to confuse opponents and make it difficult for them to predict your next move.
History of Monyet Panco
It has a long and storied history in Indonesia, dating back to the Dutch colonial era. It was originally developed as a means of self-defense against the colonial authorities, who were known for their brutal treatment of the local population. Over time, evolved and became more formalized, with the establishment of schools and training centers throughout Indonesia.
Benefits of Practicing Monyet Panco
Like all martial arts, Monyet Panco offers a range of physical and mental benefits for those who practice it. Here are just a few:
- Improved balance and coordination: The monkey-like movements and stances used in require a high degree of balance and coordination, which can be developed through regular practice.
- Increased strength and stamina: It is a physically demanding martial art, which can help you build strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness.
- Greater focus and mental clarity: The discipline and concentration required to master can help improve your overall focus and mental clarity.
- Enhanced self-defense skills: It is a highly effective self-defense system, which can help you protect yourself and your loved ones in dangerous situations.
How to Learn Monyet Panco
If you’re interested in learning , there are a number of resources available to you. Many martial arts schools in Indonesia offer classes, and there are also a growing number of online resources, including videos and instructional materials, that can help you get started.
Monyet Panco may not be as well-known as some of the more popular martial arts like karate or taekwondo, but it has a rich history and offers a range of physical and mental benefits for those who practice it. Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness, develop greater self-discipline, or learn effective self-defense techniques, is definitely worth exploring.
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